Good, Bad and Ugly Bosses

The many (same) expressions of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick

Workplace scholars agree that about 20-25% of all bosses qualify as “bad” (bully) bosses. Maybe your luck has been better than mine. But of the five bosses I had after my Ph.D. program and before I started my company, two of them were bad, bully bosses – a rate of 40%. 

Submissions to my partially crowdsourced new book The Devil’s Dictionary of Work Life (in the Age of COVID-19 and Beyond) are arriving. See my web site, where I have a list of definitions waiting to be “deviled” in the spirit of Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, e.g. ALONE, adj. In bad company. Naturally, “boss” is one of the terms awaiting diabolical definitions. 

Also feel free to offer your own terms. I hope you will contribute a few. We could all use a little fun about now, given five crises at once: health, economic, racial, democratic, and climatic.

Speaking of bosses, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick (shown above) qualifies as a good, bad and ugly boss all at the same time. Yes, Belichick is unquestionably brilliant and successful. My favorite quote from the guy is that the key to his record is that he “coaches the players I have” (not the the players he wishes he had on the roster) and “keeps it simple” so players don’t “f*** it up.” Shrewd realism: that’s the good part. The bad part is Deflategate and the other scandals that have dogged The Patriots during Belichick’s reign. The ugly part explains why Tom Brady decided he had had enough of Belichick’s dour personality and signed with Tampa Bay. 

Coach Belichick is famous for his “monochromatic” give-nothing-away demeanor on the sideline during a game. But as my analysis shows, the guy’s characteristic expression is anything but blank. Being a perfectionist, Belichick is endlessly disappointed based on what he sees unfolding on the field as well as annoyed that he’s not winning 73-0!

The emotional casualties caused by bad, bully bosses at work exceeds those killed or wounded in the Vietnam War.

How to Survive & Thrive on the Job

Released today: episode #14 of my “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” podcast series, featuring Art Markman, the author of Bring Your Brain to Work. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode. 

University of Texas Psychology and Marketing professor Art Markman and his book Bring Your Brain to Work, is the latest guest on “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight" podcast

What does it take to both fit in and yet also prosper and grow as a person in the workplace?

The Long-Term Value of Human Relationships

Markman is a professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also runs the university’s Human Dimensions of Organizations program. Besides his books, Art writes blogs for Psychology Today and Fast Company, and has a radio show/podcast called “Two Guys on Your Head.

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • The emotions that often get exhibited in relation to each of the Big 5 traits of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism – as well as how a “dream team” working on a special project will embody a variety of those traits.
  • Bosses who punish negligence instead of failure.
  • The signals in a job interview that might reveal the kind of corporate culture you’d be stepping into.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.